Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Corridors of Commerce

Fostering Economic Growth with Transportation Investments

About the program

Highway 101 project photo

The Corridors of Commerce project on Interstate 94 between Rogers and St. Michael completed in 2015.

Transportation contributes to a growing economy by supporting commerce. Transportation investments directly and indirectly foster economic growth through the provision of construction jobs and a commerce-friendly network of corridors to ship goods and provide mobility to citizens.

The 2013 Minnesota Legislature created the Corridors of Commerce program, authorizing the sale of up to $300 million in new trunk highway bonds for the construction, reconstruction and improvement of trunk highways for projects not already in the State Transportation Improvement Program. This was to further two major goals:

  • Provide additional highway capacity on segments where there are currently bottlenecks in the system
  • Improve the movement of freight and reduce barriers to commerce

In 2014, the Legislature provided an additional $31.5 million in trunk highway funds for FY 2014 and FY 2015. In 2017, the Legislature added $300 million in trunk highway bonds spread over four years and $25 million per year in cash. In response, MnDOT decided to select $400 million of projects in the next round of Corridors of Commerce.

Project Eligibility

Projects must meet the eligibility requirements identified in law, in order to receive corridors of commerce funding.  The eligibility requirements within the law are as follows:

  • Projects must be consistent with the statewide multimodal transportation plan.
  • Projects must be able to begin within four years of award of funding.
  • Projects must be on the Interregional Corridor Network in Greater Minnesota or any state highway in the eight-county MnDOT Metropolitan District.
  • Projects must either develop additional system capacity or demonstrate improvement for freight movement (reduce bottlenecks).
  • The amount of corridors of commerce funding needed to construct the project (including construction cost, right-of-way, & engineering) cannot exceed the amount of funding available. 
  • A proposed project that has an identical project already listed in MnDOT’s State Transportation Improvement Program is not eligible.

Proposed process for project selection

MnDOT currently is updating the project selection process for Corridors of Commerce to comply with the revised law passed in 2017. The public will have input into the draft process through Dec. 20, 2017.   

The process

  • The public, stakeholders and others will recommend projects via an online submissions process.
  • MnDOT itself will not be submitting project recommendations for scoring consideration.
  • All submitted projects that meet the eligibility criteria will be scored together.
  • MnDOT will be scoring projects on seven of the eight legislatively mandated criteria. Those criteria and their available points are listed below:


Points Available

Return on investment 140
Economic impact 50
Freight efficiency 100
Safety improvements 100
Regional connections 100
Policy objectives 100
Community consensus 100

Maximum points


  • The eighth criteria, Regional Balance, will be applied to the projects after they have been scored and ranked.  In 2013 & 2015, MnDOT used a soft 50-50 split between Metro District projects and Greater Minnesota district projects for the funding.  MnDOT is seeking input from the public and stakeholders on what the funding split should be in the future. 
  • Projects scoring the highest on the list will be awarded funding until a region reaches its regional balance percentage amount.  Once an area’s percentage is reached, no additional projects from that geographic region will be selected regardless of whether it scores higher than the other region’s projects. Higher scoring projects may be skipped over in favor of lower scoring projects in each region to fully use all of the funding available to that region.
  • Projects will then be selected from the list for the remaining geographic area until its threshold is reached and all funding has been awarded.
  • In the event projects in the same area end with a tied score, MnDOT will re-score the projects from that area (Metro or Greater Minnesota) by themselves.
  • MnDOT will only select projects if the Corridors of Commerce funding results in a fully funded project. MnDOT will not make partial awards.

Tentative schedule

  • Oct. 31 to Dec. 20, 2017       –     Public input on draft process
  • Dec. 21 to Dec. 31, 2017       –     Review and approve final process
  • Jan. 15 to Feb. 2, 2018          –     Public recommendation period 
  • February to March, 2018       –     Project evaluation and scoring
  • End of March 2018                –     Project award announcement and release of final scores for all projects


Patrick Weidemann